KV Correspondent

Abandoned school building in Baramulla attracts rogue elements

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Srinagar: A government owned building in Baramulla old town continues to be used for ill activities as the school education department has failed to provide any watch and ward to the building.
The school building was left abandoned around six years ago following which it has turned into a den for drug addicts, which has resulted as a big nuisance for the local residents here.
Earlier the building housed the Government Primary School Gousia Muhalla in Azad Gunz area of old town Baramulla.
The school education department merged the students of this school with adjacently located school, leaving it abandoned.
In the premises of the building, one can find empty bottles of codeine and strips of drugs used by the addicts, who according to locals come in the evening hours and make the life of local residents’ hell.
“The school building has been literally taken over by the addicts at a time when government claims to streamline the education system in Kashmir,” said Dawood, a local resident of the area.
The residents here said the school education department had earlier posted five female teachers for three students in the school.
“After its failure to increase the enrollment in the schools, the education department clubbed it with the adjacently located government school,” they said.
After the building was left abandoned, the locals here approached the then concerned Zonal Education Officer (ZEO) with a plea to put this building into use for a purpose. They said the school building was in a good condition before it was left abandoned. “We approached the department with a proposal to set up a library in the building after it was left abandoned. Ironically, the authorities gave a cold response and claimed to use the building for a mega project,” said Muhammd Aslam, another resident.
The residents had decided to renovate the building out of local contribution and set up a library there but the laxity of the department to approve the proposal played a spoilsport.
The school building is now in complete shambles with broken windows and doors which apparently looks like a ghost house.
“Every day group of youth come here and damage window panes of the building. They use it for drug abuse, causing inconvenience for the passerby,” said Tahir Ahmad, another resident.
Pertinently, there are around 80 school buildings which have been left abandoned post the rationalization process initiated by the school education department in 2015 to “streamline” the pupil teacher ratio in the government schools.
The newly appointed Chief Education Officer (CEO) Baramulla, G M Lone said he will ascertain the details about the school building and appropriate action will follow. “We will see if we can use it for some good purpose. We won’t let it go waste,” he said.

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